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Home, Work and Relations in Middle-Class America Essay (Book Review)

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The book Fast-Forward Family written by Elinor Ochs and Tamar Kremer-Sadik (2013) is aimed at examining the life of modern-day American families. It should be noted that the authors focus on the experiences of middle-class couples living in Los Angeles (Ochs & Kremer-Sadik, 2013). One should also keep in mind that the researchers study the experiences of households in which both partners were employed.

Overall, it is possible to argue that the authors examine the issues that profoundly affect the experiences of many families. In particular, the readers can learn more about such questions as household chores, nurturing, stress, health concerns, and time management (Ochs & Kremer-Sadik, 2013). Moreover, the writers discuss the way in which respondents perceived the notion of an ideal family.

Overall, their discussion can throw light on the experiences of many American families living in urban areas. It is important to show how the researchers address such issues related to gender, class, and childbearing. One should demonstrate how these people perceive gender roles and the responsibilities of parents. Additionally, much attention should be paid to the attitudes of these people toward their social status and economic prosperity. These issues are of great importance to middle-class people.

These particular questions have been chosen because they shape the experiences of many couples in the United States as well as other countries. Additionally, they affect the welfare of families. On the whole, this book can be a valuable source because it shows that middle-class families can challenge and confirm many of the existing stereotypes and conventions about gender and class; nevertheless, the findings of the authors cannot be generalized due to the limitations of their research project. This is the main thesis that should be elaborated more closely.

It is possible to say that the writers can give readers many valuable insights into the behavior of middle-class people. For instance, one can speak about their attitudes toward childbearing and responsibilities of parents. The authors demonstrate that conventional gender stereotypes can often be applicable to modern families (Ochs & Kremer-Sadik, 2013).

According to the popular stereotypes, parenting is primarily the domain of mothers. To some degree, the findings of the authors confirm this widely-held opinion. Their surveys indicate that fathers tend to spend less time children, even if they spend the same amount of time at work as mothers do (Ochs & Kremer-Sadik, 2013, p. 37). In their view, this form of inequality is quite normal. Admittedly, in some cases, fathers do accept their parental responsibilities; however, this behavior was not prevalent among the respondents.

Overall, it is possible to agree with the arguments posed by the authors, even though they do not study every type of household. For instance, they do not examine families in which only one of the spouses was employed. Moreover, their sample was rather limited, and one cannot say that the answers of the respondents represent the attitudes of various middle-class households.

Furthermore, the authors pay close attention to the work-home issues. In particular, they demonstrate that many modern families find it rather difficult to establish balance between work and family. To some degree, this situation can be attributed to the lack of policies that can improve the experiences of working parents (Ochs & Kremer-Sadik, 2013). On the whole, middle-class families identify children as their top-most priority. Their respondents argue that it is the duty of a person to resolve “the work-family conflict” (Ochs & Kremer-Sadik, 2013, p. 37).

Therefore, these individuals are not willing to sacrifice the wellbeing of their families for the sake of career. Additionally, family considerations significantly affect the career choices of many couples. This is one of the details that should not be disregarded. To some degree, these findings refute conventional stereotypes of about gender. According to the popular conceptions, males are willing to act as breadwinners. Moreover, they perceive career as one of the key values. This is one of the requirements that are set for them.

Nevertheless, they also attach much importance to their family experiences. Certainly, one should not assume that parents completely disregard their careers. In many case, there are people who choose career as their top priority. However, these individuals do not form the majority. Thus, one can say that in some cases, people’s perceptions of gender roles deviate from the traditional views according to which the behavior of males and females is governed by specific patterns and social norms. This is one of the details that should be taken into account.

Furthermore, it is necessary mention that belonging to the middle class is an important issue for many parents. In particular, both spouses value their self-sufficiency and financial prosperity. In turn, parents want to make sure that their children also belong to the middle-class. More importantly, in parents’ views, children need to “earn membership” in the middle class (Ochs & Kremer-Sadik, 2013, p. 138). This is why the respondents attach much importance to education and academic achievements (Ochs & Kremer-Sadik, 2013, p. 133).

Furthermore, they want their children to strive for self-sufficiency since this quality is important for the representatives of this social group. Overall, the examples provided by the authors indicate that the notion of class is extremely important for many households. It is often argued that the concept of class becomes irrelevant nowadays. However, the findings of researchers show that this stereotype is not always reinforced. This is one of the arguments that can be made.

Admittedly, one cannot say that the findings of Elinor Ochs and Tamar Kremer-Sadlik can be easily generalized. For example, the researchers did not study the behavior of various couples. In this case, one can speak about families representing only the middle class. Moreover, the respondents were living in urban, rather than rural environment.

It is quite possible that researchers could have derived different findings if they had changed their sample and included other groups. This is one of the shortcomings that one should not be overlooked. Thus, it is critical to critical to consider the social and demographic characteristics of subjects who took part in the project implemented by the researchers.

Overall, the book written by Elinor Ochs and Tamar Kremer-Sadlik can be a valuable source for the study of modern families who may very diverse values. Although, the authors focus on a very a narrow group of households, they can give the readers a good idea about people’s views on class and childbearing. This book is important because it shows that many of the stereotypes can be challenged or confirmed by families. This is why it can be of great interest to scholars and students.

Reference

Ochs, E., & Kremer-Sadik, T. (2013). Fast-forward Family: Home, Work, and Relationships in Middle-class America. Berkeley, LA: University of California Press.

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1. IvyPanda. "Home, Work and Relations in Middle-Class America." May 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/home-work-and-relations-in-middle-class-america/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "Home, Work and Relations in Middle-Class America." May 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/home-work-and-relations-in-middle-class-america/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Home, Work and Relations in Middle-Class America'. 1 May.

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